[PacificBulbSociety] Allium questions

Antennaria@aol.com Antennaria@aol.com
Fri, 05 Jul 2002 19:54:26 PDT
>> I haven't been able to find any info on several batches
>> of seed exchange Alliums. Does anyone know anything
>> about A. canum, A cillicium, A daghestanicum  or 
>> A. spkareepora?

My reference for checking out these names is the new "Nomenclator Alliorum, 
Allium names and synonyms, a world guide", published by Kew in 1998, the work 
of 5 noted taxonomists working on the genus Allium, M.Gregory, R.Fritsch, 
N.Friesen, F.Khassanov, D.McNeal.

A. canum - No such name exists, probably a name corruption or misspelling, 
perhaps from a worn label... probably a corruption from cyaneum or caesium 
(change a couple letters and you could easily und up with "canum").

A cillicium - this is an old synonym (and misspelled, it should be 
cilicicum).  Allium cilicicum Boiss. = Allium rotundum.  Allium cilicicum (of 
other authors, non Boiss.) = Allium sphearocephalon.  Whether you plant turns 
out to be rotundum of spherocephalon, they are similar allied species, of the 
"drumstick onion" type, with tight knobs of red or red-violet bloom atop 2' 
to 4' stems respectively.  Both are easily grown from seed and like full sun 
and well-drained soil.

A. daghestanicum - this is a valid species.  I'm not sure where you got your 
seed, but it's back in the seed exchanges these days from my seed donations 
(although I can't vouch for it's authenticity if it not from my seed, there 
are lots of imposters around). I got my seed from the extensive allium 
genepool at the botanical institute in gatersleben Germany, this collection 
from the Daghestan Botanic Garden.  This is a very fine species from the 
Caucasus, and it's namesake, Daghestan.  It has thready foliage and narrow, 
tight-clumping bulbs attached to rhizomes that slowly build into a largish 
and very attractive clump... looks like a large A. cyaneum on steroids, but 
with delicate, airy sprays of pale pink flowers in August.  The stems that 
are about 18" (45cm) long but the plant looks lower because the wire-thin 
stems gracefully splay sideways.  It needs very good drainage.

A. spkareepora - certainly a garbled name, that doesn't even come close to 
any valid allium species name from which to get a hint of what species it 
might have been before the name corruption.  I saw this name listed in last 
years' NARGS seed exchange, and was amused when I came across it.  Heavens 
knows what it'll actually turn out to be.

I hope that helps.  Oh, by the way, the total number of species in the genus 
Allium, using consensus from the 5 contributing authors to the reference I 
cited previously, is 857 taxa ( 769 species + 88 subspecies).  The book lists 
over 1400 allium species names, with nearly half being synonyms.

Mark McDonough        Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States  
antennaria@aol.com    "New England"               USDA Zone 5
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